Savings from consolidating school departments in a downtown building could pay the salaries of four teachers.
The Richmond County Board of Education estimates it will save more than $185,000 a year in energy, maintenance, custodial supplies and telephone service at the new office.
Instead of maintaining departments stretched across the county in run-down buildings, every department except for transportation and maintenance has been based in one downtown building since the school year began.
Utility costs are expected to decrease by nearly $100,000 a year, a savings of 30 percent over last year. Telephone service should be cut by 79 percent, or $53,000.
With Georgia teachers making an average salary of $44,000, those savings could pay for four teachers.
The new offices, at 864 Broad St., will be on public display at 3 p.m. today. Administrators and school trustees will hold a dedication ceremony and offer tours of the building.
School trustee Marion Barnes said the $11 million building should help operations run more effectively.
"I think the work will be more efficient in that you are there together and you don't have to go all across town. You can walk from one floor to the other. It saves time," Mr. Barnes said.
The new building houses a long list of departments, including administration, public safety, vocational, school nutrition, purchasing, Title I, visiting teachers, curriculum, psychological services, educational media, data processing, staff development, the print shop and the Georgia Learning Resource System.
The old buildings in which about 35 departments were located will be sold, with the exception of the William Robinson Center on Katherine Street, district spokeswoman Mechelle Jordan said. The center is being used to hold the county's evening school.
Despite the expected savings, the school board needed an extra $1.1 million of sales tax revenue to turn the former Davison's department store and adjacent former H.L. Green's variety store into the school offices.
Plus, the project took an extra year to complete because of basement flooding, roofing problems and structural concerns.
The project was paid for by special purpose local option sales tax funds approved by voters.
Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Richmond County Board of Education will dedicate the new administrative office building at 3 p.m. today at 864 Broad St. The public is invited to attend the ceremony and tour the building.
The Richmond County Board of Education estimates large savings by consolidating operations into the downtown offices. A breakdown of annual savings:
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